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Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, TN
Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, TN

Public Information Officer HCSO



Chattanooga, TN
April 20, 2022
$36,307.00 - $54,460.00 Annually
April 21, 2022

Job Description

DEFINITION:   Under direct supervision, is the information and communications coordinator and spokesperson or media liaison for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. The primary goal is to accurately disseminate information relating to the operation and activities of the Sheriff’s Office to the media and public in a manner that will inform without jeopardizing the integrity of the office or its employees in any way, and performs related duties as assigned.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:  (Essential functions, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, may include the following tasks, knowledge, skills and other characteristics. This list of tasks is ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY, and is not a comprehensive listing of all functions and tasks performed by incumbents of this class.)


TASKS:  Is responsible for the accurate dissemination of news from the Sheriff’s Office to the media and public.  Advises Sheriff’s Office officials and employees on effective communication techniques related to print and broadcast media; links journalists working on breaking news stories pertaining to the Sheriff’s Office with appropriate officials or other information sources; provides background information regarding the operations of the Sheriff’s Office so journalists realize how the specific details they are seeking fit into the total picture and are less likely to take things out of context; assists with numerous public information and service projects and programs.  Performs and conducts interviews representing the Sheriff’s Office with television radio broadcast and print media.

Utilizes personal contacts and/or press releases to make journalists aware of Sheriff’s Office newsworthy events and programs; develops publicity campaigns for events and programs to develop public awareness or participation; develops annual public information and publicity plan; assists in writing articles for the Sheriff’s Office monthly newsletter;  keeps up with local coverage of crime related news to ensure accuracy of reporting; and maintains a professional relationship with all other law enforcement agencies.  

The PIO is heavily involved in promoting the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and its employees internally with programs and throughout our county.   Common activities include making press releases and providing positive information about the HCSO to the media and citizens’ groups, speaking at local commission meetings and civic groups, sponsoring Sheriff’s Office programs like the Community Shred Day, Law Enforcement Memorial Service and a host of other activities.

Minimum Qualifications

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Must have a bachelor degree or higher from an accredited college or university in public relations, communications, journalism, marketing or political science or the equivalent of formal training for public information officers, communications, journalism and public relations with at least two (2) years working full time as a public information officer or related field in a law enforcement environment.

Physical Requirements; Knowledge, Skills and Other Characteristics

Knowledge of professional journalism methods, practices and procedures.
Knowledge of public relations methods, practices and procedures.
Knowledge of law enforcement approaches to accidents, crime, criminal investigations, victims, witnesses and suspects.
Knowledge of laws, rules, regulations, policies, practices, procedures and protocol related to Sheriff’s Office programs and services.
Knowledge of research, analysis and interpretation of information.
Knowledge of computer hardware, Microsoft software and peripherals.
Knowledge of investigative methods and practices.
Knowledge of elements needed in the development of general public information plans.
Knowledge of elements needed for the development of crisis/emergency communication and public information plans.
Knowledge and ability to maintain professional media image.
Skill utilizing verbal and written communication in the development of responses, correspondence, public relations and media releases and newsletters.
Skill in developing public information and publicity plans.
Skill providing information to reporters, media and the public.
Skill providing instructions and guidance to Sheriff’s Office officials and employees related to responding to media inquiries.
Skill and experience in conducting media interviews.
Skill researching, analyzing and interpreting information.
Skill determining the appropriate referrals and resources for journalists and reporters.
Skill establishing and maintaining effective working relationships.
Skill effectively communicating in both oral and written form.
Skill in developing and maintaining effective relations within the law enforcement community locally and throughout the country as needed.
Skill in developing information resources.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:  Work requires the ability to respond appropriately to inquiries and breaking news events outside normal business hours.  This classification involves work in a law enforcement environment including potential for physical harm to self or others in the line of duty.  The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office promotes a drug/alcohol-free work environment through the use of pre-employment and random drug testing.

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